Hay There!

Hay There 1

This polish, a China Glaze Halloween release of a few years’ back by the name of Rest in Pieces, always reminds me of straw or hay or dried cornstalks; very appropriate for this time of year.

This manicure in particular – Rest in Pieces here over Essie’s cafe au lait creme, Cocktails & Coconuts – reminds me of one of my favourite episodes of Trading Spaces.  Show of hands if you remember Trading Spaces.  I used to watch it every day in university, sometimes multiple times a day if TLC was running a marathon.  I seriously hated 95 percent of everything the designers did, and I lived for Hilde ruining someone’s mudroom by turning it into a circus-themed wine grotto.

Hay There 2

One of my favourite episodes, though, was the time Hilde and two stunned-into-silence neighbours redecorated a lesbian couple’s livingroom as the inside of an unfinished barn, complete with chicken coop mesh, rough-hewn, terra cotta-hued parging (missed opportunity here to go with a salmon-coloured base polish, darn it!) and random, only-partially-embedded hunks of straw.  Yes, actual straw!  That these two women had three children under five seemed to have completely slipped Hilde’s mind – or rather, she didn’t seem to give a crap that this was a totally inappropriate space for anyone to inhabit, let alone a rambunctious trio of curious young kids.  I remember the neighbours tasked with “bettering” their space were absolutely mortified, had in fact begged Hilde not to move ahead with some of her more asinine ideas (the straw), but the designer clearly had other plans.

I also remember that of the two ladies, one was politely horrified, her eyes wide and surprised and vaguely terrified as she glanced around at the ruin of her livingroom.  And the other was just flat out PISSED.  Livid, actually, and I didn’t blame her one iota – her livingroom had undergone a radical hatchet job.  Then, as if to underscore her furious point, one of the kids ambled over to the scratchy, pointy, dangerous wall and picked off a small handful of straw.  Ha!  Except not ha, because I felt terrible for that family, AND their neighbours, whose relationship was surely damaged by this entire reality TV incident.  Hilde remained oblivious to the end.

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Sharp Edges

Sharp Edges Fingers

For this geometric mani, I used a couple of polishes that made separate appearances earlier in the week, China Glaze’s jade green Four Leaf Clover and Nails Inc.’s cobalt Baker Street. Both rich, saturated jewel tones, they were the perfect colour choice(s) for these totally free-handed nails (no striping tape, boo-yah!) that were just as fussy and time-consuming to complete as you’d think.  Not gonna hide that fact.  Although sitting around waiting for all that black outlining to dry did enable me to listen to two and a half hours of a commentary track writer/director/professional talker Kevin Smith recorded for the 1992 Tim Burton movie, Batman Returns.  It was absolutely hilarious, and peppered with all sorts of fun trivia, and made me laugh so hard, I zigged when I should have zagged and nearly had to redo my index finger.  Bit of a warning there when it comes to guffawing whilst nail art-ing.  Still, pretty funny stuff.

Lucky Charms

Lucky Charm Fingers

Sort of.  At least the all important marshmallow part.

Speaking of, you know you’re getting up there in age when everybody’s favourite Saturday morning cartoon fuel is riddled with shapes of marshmallows that you’ve never laid eyes on before.  Yellow hourglasses?  Red balloons?  Multi-coloured shooting stars?  I half expect a petrified turquoise marshmallow shaped like a cell phone to fall out of the box next.

I love these nails.  They’re so fun and vibrant.  One note, though – trying to nail art over top of deep, saturated colours (like electric jade, here China Glaze’s Four Leaf Clover) is an exercise in futility.  Whatever you layer over top of it will take on a vaguely green tinge, and you’ll find yourself going over and over the same details time and time again in an attempt to hold on to the vibrancy of the polishes.  Don’t do this.  The easiest approach is to rough-in the details first – here the marshmallows – in basic white, and then fill in the coloured details after the fact.  Well, I suppose the easiest approach is to stick to pastel base colours, but where’s the fun in that?  And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t forget the base coat – greens tend to stain like a beast.

The Polished Dead

The Polished Dead Hand

I don’t watch The Walking Dead, but in the interest of my ongoing education in pop culture and the fact that Ninja Carol is a total badass, I armchair quarterback the occasional episode. Fear the Walking Dead, however, is a show I can speak a bit more authoritatively on, if only because I’m continuously gobsmacked at how stupid the central characters can be. It’s a train wreck of reckless idiocy I’m powerless to tear my eyes from. I’ve since come to understand that the concept of a zombie is one that is totally unfamiliar to the denizens of the Walking Deadiverse, hence all the talk of walkers, geeks and anything-but-the-Z-word. But when the entire world is going to hell around you – civil disobedience, military invasions, burning hospitals, riots, police shootings, the woman next door who’s been stuck in a gap between your fences, snarling and bleeding from the eyes, FOR DAYS – it simply won’t do to put on a happy face, have a cuppa tea and wait for this all to blow over. “What’s going on, Dad?”, the befuddled catchphrase of one of Fear’s central mouthbreathers, has become shorthand around my home when you’re caught being a dumbass – “Dad? What’s going on, Dad? Why is there all this water on the counter? Dad? Dad? Daaahhhhh-aaaaaddddd?”

All that to say these are zombie skin nails, featuring a polish from last year’s China Glaze Halloween collection, Don’t Let the Dead Bite, that I think looks like entrails (in the very best way!) Guaranteed walker-approved.

The Polished Dead Fingers

For the Birds

For the Birds side

Continuing with this week’s unintentional theme of autumnal nail delights, here’s a super seasonal manicure that reminds me of the cut-down, Canada goose-filled corn fields I pass every day whilst out and about living my life (and if you’re wondering what kind of godforsaken, bird-plagued borough I live in – the other day it was turkeys, today it’s Canada geese – eastern Ontario!) Those fields are filled with the dried up, broken-off remnants of this summer’s bounty and, of course, about 200 plump geese gorging themselves silly for their flights down south (seems counter-intuitive to me, having a great big meal before a long flight, but clearly they know something I don’t!)

The hay or dried out, fieldy bits (actual technical term) in these nails comes courtesy of China Glaze’s Rest in Pieces, a predominantly copper-hued glitter topper from last year’s Halloween collection. I never really warmed up to this polish – something about the bar glitter (messy!) and the fact that it presents well over virtually nothing. Except for this manicure, where I of course think it looks AWESOME! Really, why did I not jelly sandwich this one sooner, especially when I’ve got Nfu Oh’s rich, butterscotch-hued jelly, JS39, on standby? The clear, lush simplicity of the jelly polish showcases Rest in Pieces beautifully, while tamping down some of the harsh holographic edges that tend to make it look just a tad “too much.” Very nice.

Fingers

FrankenShortcake

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So it would seem that when you combine a predominately red, green and white, Christmas-themed glitter topper with delicate, pastel-hued base polishes, the resulting look is very nearly always Strawberry Shortcake. As in the doll. With snowflake glitter. Which really isn’t a problem for me, as I’ve been on the hunt for a Strawberry Shortcake-type polish for a while now, and I quite like the overall look. I had actually forgotten how much red Strawberry Shortcake has in her costume (had – today’s Strawberry Shortcake is all about the hot pink.)

I think the thing I like the most about these nails, though, is that I was able to create the look without having to buy another polish. And it’s not even necessarily that I dislike the financial outlay (although who likes parting with their money?), it’s more that I’m finding that the redundancy in my polish collection is becoming a bit of an issue. I’ve never felt the need to own 13 nearly identical turquoise polishes because this one is a shimmer and that one is a holo, but that’s precisely what’s happening, just with my favourite type of lacquer, chunky glitters. And as any nail polish aficionado will tell you, while they may be fun and beautiful, mega glitters have a somewhat limited application – it’s hard to make them look like anything other than glitter bombs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

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So when I can find a way to combine some of my existing pretties into a gorgeous Frankenstein of a manicure, I’ll take it, which is precisely what happened with this mani, in which I layered one coat of my very favourite polish, Candy Lacquer’s Candy Cane Fiesta, over, on alternating fingers, Bonita’s pale pink Sweet Ever After and China Glaze’s pale green Re-Fresh Mint.

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Summerween

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Although there are a number of students already back at school, the usual signifier of the end of summer, it is still very much leisure time around my neck of the global woods, where the kids won’t start classes for another week and a half. Fall is still a ways off, and if today’s humidity is any indication, Winter Isn’t Coming either, at least for another couple of months. Still, you’d never know it, based on the Halloween displays that have already appeared at various retail establishments, and the flood of “I’m the Queen of Halloween!” posts that have popped up all over Instagram (as if owning 350 Halloween-themed hand soaps from Bath and Body Works makes you the queen of anything except hoarding.)

I’m generally not a fan of out-of-season “holiday creep,” which makes this mani featuring two Halloween-themed China Glaze polishes that much more exceptional. But I recognize that bloggers and lacqueristas need to plan ahead, particularly during those times of the year when there’s a run on holiday-themed items, and so I thought I’d showcase at least two of this year’s Halloween polishes, a smidge on the early side.

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For these fun, splattered nails, I used a trio of China Glaze polishes. I started with a base of Re-Fresh Mint, a celery-hued creme, topped with one coat of Ghoulish Glow, a glow-in-the-dark topper sold every Halloween. Before I go on, a quick word about Ghoulish Glow: It behaves very oddly. I purchased my bottle two years ago and have used it maybe five times. People who paint their nails all the time know you can hold on to a bottle for 10 years or more if you don’t use it all that often – it’s the opening and closing and contact with oils and dirt on your nails that ultimately does a polish in. Absent that interaction, a lacquer can last just about forever. Which should have been the case with Ghoulish Glow. Yet somehow, over two years of non-use, sitting upright in a dark, cool storage box, my bottle of Ghoulish Glow has depleted by about 75 percent. It has also nearly entirely lost its glow effect, which was not that strong to begin with, and if you use a topcoat, like I did with this manicure, it won’t glow at all. But I’m always hopeful that my polish mis-steps will have somehow magically righted themselves from the last botched attempt, and so I thought I’d give Ghoulish Glow another shot. It will not be a repeat purchase.

GhoulishBottle

I then topped those two polishes with one coat of Ghostess with the Mostess, a purple, green, orange and black glitter topper from this year’s Ghouls’ Night Out Collection. Ghostess is pretty awesome, a not-too-vibrant collection of differently sized matte hexes in Halloween’s most popular colours. Spooky…here at the end of the summer. 😉

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